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Famous Mothers and Daughters in History

Mothers and Daughters from Medieval to Modern Times


Elizabeth Woodville (1437-1492),

Elizabeth of York (1466-1503),
Margaret Tudor (1489-1541),
Margaret Douglas (1515-1578),
Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587),
Mary Tudor (1496-1533),
Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) and
Lady Catherine Grey (~1538-1568)

Elizabeth Woodville married Edward IV, a marriage that Edward at first kept secret because his mother and uncle were working with the French king to arrange a marriage for Edward.  She was a widow with two sons when she married Edward, and with Edward had two sons and five daughters who survived infancy.  These two sons were the "Princes in the Tower," likely murdered by Edward's brother Richard III, who took power when Edward died, or by Henry VII (Henry Tudor), who defeated and killed Richard.  Elizabeth's eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, became a pawn in the dynastic struggle, with Richard III first trying to marry her, and then Henry VII taking her as his wife. She was the mother of Henry VIII as well as his brother Arthur and sisters Mary and Margaret Tudor. Margaret was the grandmother by her son James V of Scotland of Mary, Queen of Scots, and, through her daughter Margaret Douglas, of Mary's husband Darnley, ancestors of the Stuart monarchs who ruled when the Tudor line ended with the childless Elizabeth I. Mary Tudor was the grandmother by her daughter Lady Frances Brandon of Lady Jane Grey and Lady Catherine Grey.

Theophano (943?-after 969), Theophano (956?-991) and Anna (963-1011)

Though the details are somewhat confused, the Byzantine Empress Theophano was the mother of both a daughter named Theophano who married the western emperor Otto II and who served as regent for her son Otto III, and Anna of Kiev who married Vladimir I the Great of Kiev and whose marriage was the catalyst for Russia's conversion to Christianity.

Theodora (?-928) and Marozia (~892-~937)

Theodora was at the center of a papal scandal, and raised her daughter Marozia to be another major player in papal politics. Marozia was the mother of Pope John XI and grandmother of Pope John XII.

Melania the Elder (~341-410) and Melania the Younger (~385-439)

Melania the Elder was the grandmother of the better-known Melania the Younger. Both were founders of monasteries, using their family fortune to finance the ventures, and both traveled widely.

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